Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Playing with Nuclear War

By William S. Lind, Traditional Right

As of this writing (September 12), Ukraine’s counter offensives appear to be succeeding. The widely telegraphed offensive in the south is making some progress. But it looks as if its primary role was deception, where it has already succeeded because Russia responded by drawing down its forces in eastern Ukraine, opening the door for the main Ukrainian counteroffensive. That is moving forward at Blitzkrieg pace, to the point where Russian units are disintegrating. All this is, of course, wonderful news for Ukraine and for anyone who wants to see David beat Goliath.

But interests must be matters of cold calculation, not warm emotions. Foreign policy is more than consulting Sant’s list of who is naughty or nice. Yes, the Russians have been beasts and their invasion of Ukraine has been criminal. But Ukraine’s victories are not good news for America’s most vital interest.

What is that most vital interest? Avoiding nuclear war.

Throughout the Cold War, everyone in Washington understood this. Party did not matter, liberal or conservative was of no consequence. The whole foreign and defense policy establishment knew we and the Soviets were walking on eggs. The slightest mis-step could mean nuclear catastrophe. We came close on occasion; the closest was probably during the Cuban missile crisis, when the skipper of a Soviet submarine was about to fire a nuclear torpedo at an American destroyer. His politruk stopped him. As the representative of the Party, he knew Moscow did not want nuclear war any more than Washington did.

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